Malleco, The last frontier of dreams!

The climate change that is affecting the world, including our country, is a fact that currently, no one doubts. In our Central Valley, rainfall has decreased, while the coastal climate is getting colder and drier. And although the average rainfall has not varied as much as one might think, the frequency and intensity of the events have.

That being said, it is of no surprise that Chile is now producing wines in southern locations that we never imagined before. First, it was Mulchén, in the Biobío region, joined later by Traiguén in Malleco. Today these experiences even reach Osorno and Chiloé.

The rainfall decrease, especially in summer, and the relative temperature increase, make it possible for some dreams to come true. And I had a dream. My paternal family is from Traiguén, a small town in the Araucanía Region, where they owned a farm called La Viña (The Vineyard).

This, because a vineyard grew there and wine was made. From what my father told me, it was a white wine, of low alcohol content and dubious quality. I never knew the variety, but it surely wasn’t bad, if uncles and other relatives didn’t find it disgusting. In fact, I remember it was common to see them harvesting wheat with a chuica (15 l wine container) as a companion during the long summer threshing days. And more than once the threshing machine had to be fetched in the middle of a field because its driver had fallen asleep under the effects of the wine…

The rainy climate of southern Chile, which is more moderate in Traiguén due to the rain shadow generated by the Nahuelbuta Mountain Range, and its red clay and volcanic soils, have always been tremendously attractive to me. These conditions intrigued me and made me think of the quality that could be obtained in a wine grown in the area.

A great deal of wine has flown under the bridge since the first time I dreamt of making a wine in Traiguén. But with the 2020 vintage, that dream came true. Being able to vinify the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes that my brother and a friend had planted in my cousin’s property meant a thrilling challenge. And also, let it be said, a great responsibility.

We just bottled both wines, which, quite rightly, will become part of our Limited Edition range. In the area, the vines grow very slowly and look younger than the 10 years they are. The number of bunches per plant has to be very limited, since, with a load considered normal in Chile’s Central Zone, the grapes would not be able to ripen there.

The results are extraordinary (a dream!). The unique finesse and typicity that the wines show, outweigh by far the effort. People say you have to be careful with dreams because sometimes they come true… and truth be told, this is one I would have liked to share with my father, perhaps a pioneer without knowing it. I also would have liked to hear his stories of the old vineyard and to toast to the area’s new generation of wines. And to Viña Morandé and its tireless terroir search from which to obtain dream wines, thus allowing me to fulfill one of mine.

Ricardo Baettig

Winemaker at Viña Morandé


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